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The Lord of the Rings cast reveal the real-life origins of their characters' accents

Where did the accents from Lord of the Rings come from? According to the cast, it was all Tolkien

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When Peter Jackson adapted J R. R. Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings, the director went to great lengths to ensure that his films would be as faithful to the books as possible. Jackson worked hard to make sure that all the small details were perfect, including the accents.

Speaking to a crowd at Emerald City Comic Con, the Lord of the Rings cast spoke about how their character’s accents were developed. “The truth is Tolken sets out roughly what his characters are like and what they sound like,” John Rhys-Davies said. “We knew that the elves for instance have a lyricism in their voice that is based on the Welsh, the music of the Welsh language, which is very much like that, and rather wonderful, but it can also be a great language of power. Let me just give you a little bit, a word or two, of the Lord’s Prayer in Welsh.”

Rhys-Davies then recited a line of the Lord’s Prayer in Welsh, and it was kind of epic.

(If you’re curious, check out the panel video and head to the 27:30 timestamp. You’re welcome!)

“The accents were really specifically mapped out as they were also articulating based on region, where characters came from,” Elijah Wood said. “There was a lot of thought put into it, none of it was accidental. And with Frodo, the thought process was not having him have a country accent, due to being of a slightly more noble blood, being a Baggins, and his uncle kind of showing him a broader worldview, and his accent being reflected in that broader worldview.”

“We knew that the hobbits were basically West Country. Somerset, maybe a bit of Dorset, maybe a bit of Devon, and Cornwall,” Rhys-Davies said.

“They gave me a tape, a recording,” Sean Astin recalled. “Andrew Jack and Roisin Carty were our dialect coaches and our dialecticians. They gave me a recording of a farmer saying, ‘That’s a nice shiny apple.’ And I would say that before every single line. The first time I ever did the accent without the dialect coaches mothering me was for a video game. And it was both terrifying and liberating when I realized that I can actually do this!”

In other words, Middle Earth is basically West Country. You probably won’t find any dragons there, but the population will sound like Hobbits.

Whether you're Shirefolk, Elven, Dwarven, or something else, there's a good reason to love Lord of the Rings. We do! With that in mind, we have a dragon's horde of goodies for you from a Lord of the Rings reading guide, a Lord of the Rings watch guide, details on the upcoming animated film Lord of the Rings: The War of Rohirrim, a full the Lord of the Rings reunion panel you can watch, how the OG Hobbit actors stay in touch every day on a groupchat, and the true message of the Lord of the Rings film trilogy, according to Gimli himself - John Rhys-Davies.

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Joshua Lapin-Bertone avatar
Joshua Lapin-Bertone: Joshua is a pop culture writer specializing in comic book media. His work has appeared on the official DC Comics website, the DC Universe subscription service, HBO Max promotional videos, the Batman Universe fansite, and more. In between traveling around the country to cover various comic conventions, Joshua resides in Florida where he binges superhero television and reads obscure comics from yesteryear.
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